HAWAII (May 18) – With the theme, “Kabataan: Pag-asa nga Bayan,” about 20,000 tourists and locals joined the Filipino community in Hawaii for its 17th Annual Fiesta on May 9. The whole-day event, which was held in Waikiki, consisted of three parts: the Parade, from Fort DeRussy to the Kapiolani Park; the Fiesta, held at the Kapiolani Park; and the Santacruzan, also at the Kapiolani Park.
The grand parade showcased Rizal and the youth of Dapitan, the arrival of the Visayas in Hawaii in 1909 and the popular Ati-Atihan, Sinulog, and Ifugao teams.
The Philippine Consulate led the Parade with the three “Higantes” composed of the figures of a father, a mother and their daughter with an average height of more than eight feet.
For the Fiesta, the Consulate set up an information booth to disseminate tourism promotional materials and to attend to inquiries on the annual Ambassador/Consul General/ Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTD), Republic Act 9225, the registration for the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) and various consular services.
Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman handed a check in the amount of $15,000 to the Filipino community Center in support of the Filipino fiesta. He took pride in calling himself the “tallest Filipino Mayor” in the world with a height of 6’7, and being an adopted son of several Ilocos towns.
The fiesta was capped by the colorful and impressive parade of young Fil-Am men and women wearing elegant, native and modernized versions of the Filipino traditional dresses. Young artists from television network GMA 7, Jay-R and Maxene Magalona, participated in the Santacruzan.
Booths were also set up to showcase Filipino food and native delicacies, as well as Filipino businesses and activities of non-profit organizations.
There was also a regional cultural village which showcased the various regions of the Philippines and a Keiki (kids) Village that featured Filipino children’s games.
The fiesta was coordinated by the Filipino Community center with assistance from the Congress of Visayan Organization (COVO), the Honolulu Filipino Junior Chamber of Commerce (HFJCC), United Filipino Council of Hawaii (UFCH), and the Oahu Filipino Community Council (OFCC).
In addition, other Filipino community organizations including those from the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and the Big Islands, participated in the Fiesta and presented cultural numbers in the form of songs, dances, playing of native musical instruments and display of cultural artifacts and costumes.